Badminton Life

Finland Rejoice at the Croatian International

Finland may not be the nation you automatically think of when considering great Badminton countries or players but there was recent success for them at the Croatian International as Ville Lang triumphed in the final where he defeated Erwin Kehlhofner of France.

The win secured a long overdue triumph for Lang who had been suffering a dry spell of late but this triumph will hopefully see him return to form and rise up the rankings, although the rankings are no indication of potential success as Petr Koukal found. The Czech Republic badminton star was the top seed going into the tournament but he lost out in the quarter finals to Raul Must from Estonia as the tournament threw up a number of shocks.

Lang entered the competition unseeded but this did not deter the Finnish player as he defeated the 7th seed in Kevin Cordon from Guatemala in the semi finals and then defeated the fourth seed Kehlhofner in the final. These two triumphs alone would have been enough to offer some confidence to Lang but to eventually win the tournament must be seen as a springboard for the player.

The Ladies event also saw some form of upset with top seed Nanna Brosolat Jensen of Denmark losing out to Kaori Imabeppu of Japan in the Ladies final. The upsets may have thrown some fans who were expecting to see the bug name players triumph but the local crowd had plenty to cheer when local player Zvonimir Durkinjak made it to the final of the Men's Doubles event.

Durkinjak alongside his Czech Republic partner Jakub Bitman made it through to the final after two tough victories in the quarters and semis on the Saturday and their final placing more than merited their fourth placed ranking in the Worlds Doubles ratings. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the Men's Doubles event was claimed by the Indian duo of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas by a margin of 21-9, 21-14.

The Women's Doubles event had more of a focus on European talent with the final taking place between Maria Thorberg of Denmark and Kati Tolmoff of Estonia who recorded a win over their Russian opponents Tatyana Bibik and Olga Golovanova. This result was a welcome relief for Thorberg who lost in the semi final of the Ladies Singles tournament to the eventual runner up Nanna Jensen.

The Mixed Doubles event also saw an all European final where the French managed to hold out for victory over Bulgaria. The Doubles crown went to Baptiste Careme and Laura Choinet who deftly defeated Vladimir Metodiev and Gabriela Banova.

It may have been a tournament where some of the more recognizable names of Badminton were missing but the Croatian International offered further proof that exciting and riveting badminton can be found anywhere and not just purely when the big names are in town. If Finland's Ville Lang can take his triumph as a stepping stone to return to more promising form and winnings then this Croation International badminton event may be remembered for a number of reasons by badminton observers for many years to come.

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